Hoskins: Illegal plan just makes Turner richer

Robert Hoskins’ op-ed on FWP giving the quarantined bison to Ted Turner-

Op-ed in the Casper Star Tribune. Illegal plan just makes Turner richer. By Robert Hoskins

Montana FWP study finds mixed impacts of wolves on ungulate populations

Finally, a real study, and released to the public-

Not surprisingly (to me anyway) the effect of wolves on elk populations varies by area and presence of other predators such as grizzly bears. In addition hunters affect elk more than wolves. When considering wolves and ungulates alone, I take this report to be generally quite positive for the effects of wolves on ungulates.

Here is the news release, but there is the much larger report available to for those interested. Here is the 90+ page full report. Ralph Maughan

Added. Notice how the MSM immediately gives the results of this an immediate spin by means of the headline. Wolves tied to elk decline in parts of state. By EVE BYRON – Independent Record

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – FEBRUARY 6, 2008
Contact Ron Aasheim, 406-444-4038; Justin Gude, 406-444-3767; or visit FWP’s Web site
at fwp.mt.gov

Study Finds Mixed Wolf Impacts On Elk Populations-
Not all elk populations respond in the same manner when faced with sharing the landscape with wolves, a new report by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks suggests.

Researchers who spent the past seven years measuring the populations and behavior of elk in Montana found that elk numbers in some areas of southwestern Montana have dropped rapidly due mostly to the loss of elk calves targeted by wolves and grizzly bears that inhabit the same area. The same study, led by FWP and Montana State University, also suggests that in some areas of western Montana elk numbers have increased while hunter-harvests of elk have decreased, with little apparent influence by local wolf packs on elk numbers.

“One-size-fits-all explanations of wolf-elk interactions across large landscapes do not seem to exist,” said Justin Gude, FWP’s chief of wildlife research in Helena.
The 95-page report contains two sections. The first section summarizes research efforts in the Greater Yellowstone Area and southwestern Montana, with a primary focus on wolf-elk interactions. The second section summarizes FWP data collection and monitoring efforts from the entire range of wolves in Montana. Read the rest of this entry »

Slaughter of Hog Heaven Pack condemned by Montanans and wildlife groups

State and feds’ behavior called “outrageous” “unnecessary”

Story: “Montanans, wildlife groups condemn state, feds for wolf pack slaughter.” Missoulian.

The coalition (Wildlife Watchers and Big Wildlife) issuing this statement also said the action left many questions unanswered and that the public must be given specific formation about the killing of so many wolves.

Montana wolf news. Massacre by the Wildlife Services

Montana FWP oversees wiping out a pack of 27 wolves-

Wildlife Services has killed 19 members of the Hog Heaven Pack over a three day period. The news reports said the pack originally had 27 members. Now it is gone.

This is 8 per cent of Montana’s wolves for scattered killings over the year. I’ve seen no complete tally as to numbers, ages, whether the owners had attractants. It seems the dead livestock were cattle (mostly calves) and 3 llamas.

Montana has also killed off other large numbers of wolves this year, eliminating them from entire areas of the state.

This is doubly significant because Montana claims to have an enlightened wolf management plan, but even Wyoming doesn’t kill wolves at this rate.

According to a story in the Daily InterLake (Kalispell), “Over the last few months, the pack was involved in eight separate incidents of depredation on livestock. In the latest incident on Nov. 18, the pack killed a 2-year-old bull. Hog Heaven wolves also were believed to be responsible for killing three llamas on Aug. 6, a calf on Sept. 16, two breeding-stock heifers on Sept. 23, a calf on Sept. 25 and another calf on Oct. 8.”  Entire story (you can add your comments)

Here’s what you can do, go to change.gov and suggest that Wildlife Services is an agency that needs to be eliminated or changed so that it only engages in non-lethal actions with  domestic vertebrate wildlife. All lethal control should be redirected to foreign animals that do significant harm — invasive species like nutria and feral hogs.

In other words, they can kill non-native pests like starlings and English sparrows.

More specifically, ask them for reform by  1. Supporting committee report language in the FY 2010 Agriculture appropriations bill that reads: “the Committee expects that Wildlife Services will make use of the non-lethal methods developed by the National Wildlife Research Center, and will make non-lethal controls the near exlusive method of choice, and will resort to lethal means only as a last resort.” Ask them to nominate a person who is committed to this policy for the position of  USDA Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.
2. Support passage of wolf/livestock legislation S. 2875 (Gray Wolf Livestock Loss Mitigation Act of 2008) with an amendment to make funding come from USDA not the Department of the Interior and pass companion House language.
3. Prohibit all aerial gunning of domestic wildlife.

Questions arise over tallies of wolf depredation figures in Montana

Claim is that more are killed than reported-

Yes, and given Wildlife Services’ seeming intent to reduce wolf populations by control after “depredations”, it seems just as likely the depredation figures are inflated.

At any rate, the cost is small. Many people as individuals have lost far more in the decline of their retirement funds, stock portfolios, etc., than the cost of entire wolf depredation in the state of Montana. Of course, the 120,000 dollar losses to many John Does in Missoula somehow is not news, but the loss of a $1000 heifer somewhere in rural Montana is news.

How about equal time?

Questions arise over tallies of depredation figures. By Eve Byron. Helena Independent Record

Longtime Schweitzer friend tapped to run Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks

Schweitzer’s old roommate will run the state’s wildlife agency-

Maybe someone from Montana could tell us if this is a hopeful appointment.

Because the old head of the agency was appointed by the right wing Governor July Martz, I’d speculate that this will be an improvement.

Story: Longtime Schweitzer friend tapped to run FWP. By Jennifer McKee Of The Billings Gazette Staff